A Frontier, as Told by the Frontier

by John Stoltenberg

In the weeks after 9/11 in New York City, one saw chain-link fences to which had been attached missing-person notices. Hundreds upon hundreds—silently pleading paper testaments to a vast sadness and loss. That’s the image brought back to me by Deb Sivingy’s set for this enormously touching new play in Source Festival by Jason Gray Platt: a chain-link fence festooned with tattered flyers. And so it was that I began to sense the four teenage characters’ lonely sorrow even before I had met them.

And what an adorable bunch they were: two boys and two girls, cute as buttons, who in some far future have been left behind in an abandoned amusement park under the protection and tutelage of an imposing grownup named Nafts.

Why has everyone disappeared? one of the youngsters asks him.

Just because someone has left doesn’t mean they have disappeared, Nafts answers sagely.

Thus we begin to glimpse that Nafts is the system’s spinmeister. And, as impressively played by Scott McCormick, he is so fluent at parent-teacher dissociation that his seemingly guileless warmheartedness persuades even us.

Four amazingly talented actors bring the kids to winsomely heartfelt life: Maggie Erwin, Kyle Encinas, Ryan Sellers, and Kita Grayson. Their performances are so sweet and authentic that one cannot help but want them to be okay.

Something terrible is going on outside this amusement park that is ostensibly their safe home. Something about insurgents. Something about a mass exodus. Really bad stuff.

To find out more, you’ll have to get a ticket and go on the ride.